COVID-19 Terminology

Note: these definitions are specific to the terminology used for COVID-19. 

Acute - infections that are short lives.

Asymptomatic - refers to when a person has a disease, but they are not showing signs that they have the disease. 

Case Fatality Rate - a measure of the severity of a disease. The portion of reported cases of a specific disease or condition which are fatal within a specific time frame. 

Chronic - infections that can last for weeks, months, years, or a lifetime. 

Cluster - a collection of cases occurring in the same place at the same time. 

Cohort - refers to a group or company that often has something in common. You may hear it to express co-workers, organizations, or a community. 

Communicable - capable of being easily spread or communicated. COVID-19 is a communicable disease. 

Community Spread - also known as community transmission, refers to the spread of a contagious disease to individuals in a particular geographic location who have no known contact with other infected individuals or who have not recently traveled to an area where the disease has any documented cases.

Containment - refers to keeping the virus outside of our community. Zero cases means we are in containment. 

Contract Tracing - the practice of identifying and monitoring individuals who may have had contact with an infectious person as a means of controlling the spread of a communicable disease.

Coronavirus -the broader name for the family of viruses that includes COVID-19

COVID-19 - name for new coronavirus, an abbreviated form of coronavirus disease 2019.

Donning and Doffing - refers to the practice of putting on and removing protective gear like face masks and gloves. Donning refers to putting on masks and gloves, while doffing means removing them.

Elective Procedure - a surgical, medical or dental procedure that is not urgent or immediately needed, but may result in an emergency if not completed. 

Epidemiology- refers to a branch of medical science that deals with the incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population.

Febrile Respiratory Illness (FRI) - new or worsening episode of either cough or shortness of breath, present with fever (100.4 degrees) or chills in the previous 24 hours.

Fomite - refers to an object or surface such as door handles, light switches, phones and any other frequently touched items, that can act as a vehicle for transmitting an infectious organism like the coronavirus. 

Generation Time - refers to the time duration from the onset of an infection in a primary case to the onset of an infection in a secondary case who was infected by the primary case. 

Herd Immunity - refers to when enough people in a given population have taken an effective vaccine. How it work: people are more protected from getting the disease, even if they have not has the vaccine, because the vast majority is immune and incapable of spreading it. 

Immunocompromised - Having a compromised immune response due to an underlying condition or medication that is being taken. 

Incubation Period - refers to the time frame when you were exposed to the disease until you develop the first symptom. During this period you are still contagious, even if you are not showing any symptoms. the incubation period for COVID-19 is about 2-14 days. 

Index Case - the first documented case of an infectious disease or genetically transmitted condition or mutation in a population, region, or family.

Index Patient - an individual affected with the first known case of an infectious disease or genetically transmitted condition or mutation in a population, region, or family.

Isolation - separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

Mitigation - being in "mitigation" means the county has confirmed community transmission and now its purpose is to keep it from spreading further.

Morbidity vs. Mortality - morbidity is a rate of how many people have an illness. relative to the population. Mortality is a rate of how many people have died because of an illness, relative to the population.

Prevalence - refers to the number of people who have a specific characteristic (in this case, often COVID-19) in a given time period, compared to the whole population. 

Quarantine - separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.

Recovered - 24 hours have passed since fever break without fever reducing medications, and symptoms have improved, and at least 10 days have passed since onset of symptoms.  

Regional Variance - the allowance for California counties to move through reopening within stage two at a different pace than the state to modify the stay at home order. In Mariposa County it is referred to as Stage 2.5.

Respirator - a mask-like device worn over the mouth, or both nose and mouth, to prevent the inhalation of bad or toxic particles and substances. 

Screening - Brief examination of a person to see if they may have a disease. This frequently involves taking their temperature, asking about symptoms, and asking about potential exposures to infected people. 

Self-Quarantine - to refrain from any contact with other individuals for a period of time (such as two weeks) during the outbreak of a contagious disease usually by remaining in one’s home and limiting contact with family members.

Serology/Antibody Testing- Serology tests are blood-based tests that can be used to identify if a person has already been exposed to a particular pathogen by looking for the presence of antibodies. These tests are for people who may have had the virus in the past, but no longer shows symptoms. 

Social Distancing - means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible to reduce the spread of a contagious disease.

Surge - to rise and fall actively. When is Surge, it would mean the county is overrun with cases and it has exhausted our healthcare capacity. 

Therapeutics - treatment and care of a patient for the purpose of both preventing and combating disease or alleviating pain or injury.

Ventilator vs. Respirator - a ventilator is a machine that helps people breathe using a tube that is inserted into their windpipe. A respirator is a mask-like device worn over the mouth, or both nose and mouth, to prevent the inhalation of bad or toxic particles and substances. 

Viral Shedding - viral shedding occurs when a virus replicators inside your body and is released into the environment. At that point, it may be contagious. 

Zoonotic - a disease that exists in animals, but can also infect a human.